ISTANBUL - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani met Wednesday Turkey’s special envoy to the neighboring country, Murat Ozcelik, to discuss the bilateral relations between Ankara and Baghdad. Separately, Talabani invited the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, CHP, to visit Iraq.
It is necessary to establish strategic relations and enhance the cooperation and joint coordination between Ankara and Baghdad in order to serve the interests of both countries’ peoples, Talabani was quoted by PUKmedia, a news service associated with the Iraqi president, as saying during his meeting with Ozcelik in Iraq.
"Turkey is a crucial and a friendly country to the Iraqi people," he added.
The Turkish envoy reiterated his country’s support to the political process and democracy in Iraq and conveyed the Turkish government attitude in dealing with all Iraqi parties, the Iraqi Kurdish news agency reported on its website.
Ozcelik also appreciated Talabani’s efforts in establishing and promoting the friendship between Iraq and Turkey to serve peace, stability and prosperity in the region, it added.
In March, Kurdish-origin Talabani, told the PKK to disarm or leave Iraq, in some of the toughest comments to date by any Iraqi leader against the terror organization, whose use of Iraq as a base has strained ties between Baghdad and Ankara.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has also promised to help Turkey’s fight against the terror organization PKK. His comments were a further sign of a thaw in relations between the two major trading partners, starting with a trip to Iraq by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan last year.
The PKK, which launches cross-border attacks on Turkey from bases in northern Iraq, is listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, including the EU and the United States.
BAYKAL INVITED TO IRAQ
In a separate development, Talabani invited Turkey's main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, to Iraq, according to reports on Wednesday.
The invitation was conveyed to the opposition leader in a meeting between Bahroz Galali, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, representative in Ankara and CHP’s deputy head Onur Oymen in the party's headquarters in the Turkish capital.
Galali expressed the PUK’s hope to develop its relations with the CHP in the meeting, as both parties are members of the Socialist International, or SI, PUKmedia said.
Oymen confirmed the reports of such an invitation to Turkish TV channels.